Long Range Equipment - weapons, calibers, barrels
A more detailed view at the shooters equipment used in the Long Range competition in May 2018 in Slovakia. Shooters from five European countries competed again in three categories from 500m to 1400m. I did also a small comment on individual items.
The graphs also distinguish the equipment of the shooters who ranked on the podiums of each category. Is, IIs, IIIs for Standard category. Iss, IIss, IIIss for Super Standard and Im, IIm, IIIm for Magnum.
Weapons or their basics used in the competition.
Some are all stock weapons with no changes. Sometimes only a action is used and both the barrel and the stock or even the trigger mechanism have been replaced. Several "custom guns" were also present - the whole weapon is assembled by the riflemaker from the components. This is common in the US but not so much in Europe. The advantage of these customs is that the shooter can have a system built of high quality components (especially a quality target barrel is important) exactly according to his needs or according to the specifics of the given competitions. However the disadvantage is higher price than standard systems.
But when we look at the list - some of the weapons are not in the middle category... Orsis, Victrix, Voer, Ritter & Stark, AI AXMC, Cadex - all are high-priced systems. However as in the US the trend goes towards custom rifles and I expect that even in Europe sooner or later there will be a similar phenomenon. Indeed in the ultimate precision shooting competitions (which we are also involved in but our chances with our equipment are quite small) this shift is clearly observable. At the top of the list there are the shooters with equipment that is designed to this purpose - extremely accurate shooting. Serial weapons are usually more universal and as they have been trending in recent years - more tactical ...
While it may seem weird this type of Long Range competition is not so much about the ultimate precision but rather about shooter skills, dealing with weather influences, ballistics and how they can handle their weapon system in general. As long as we shoot the steel targets with the hit / miss scoring the shooter's ability and the overall balance of his equipment are more important. We can also have great results with middle class equipment. But if we shoot on paper targets with points - the situation is different and the quality (and therefore the price) of the equipment plays a much larger role... In the Long Range of this type we simply can not replace the skill of the shooter with better and more expensive equipment (but it can not hurt...).
This competition is divided into three categories according to the caliber performance.
Standard category is up to 1000m and the calibers are:
6mm NORMA BR
with the maximum barrel length 660mm (26 inches).
Super Standard category is up to 1100m and the calibers are:
and the standard category calibers with the barrel length over 660mm (26 inches). It does not apply to the rifles until 1975 unless they have been modified and their appearance and the parameters specified by the manufacturer were changed.
Magnum category is up to 1400m and the calibers are:
7mm Rem. SAUM
7mm Weatherby Mag.
.300 Rem. SAUM
.300 Weatherby Mag.
.30-378 Weatherby Mag.
340 Weat. Mag.
375 H&H Mag.
It is interesting how many weapons in the 6.5x55 caliber we are using in Europe with great results. It is a great caliber with the only "drawback" and that is - the cartridges are longer than .308 Win and a long action must be used. But as you can see it is not such a limitation...
The division of Standard and Super Standard category by length of barrel has its merits. Higher muzzle velocity thanks to a longer barrel means a flatter ballistic curve and less impact on the projectile by wind and a higher probability of hits at distances that are on the edge of performance.
In the Standard category it is clear that the faster 6.5 caliber bullets with a higher BC will have a better probability of hits than the .308 Win. But even so it happens sometimes that someone with .308 gets in the podium - here it is really more about the ability of the shooters...
Barrel lengths in inches.
Although we are primarily using the metric system in Europe it is the world standard to specify the length of the barrel in inches - as well as the weight of bullets and powder in grains and not in grams. While the types of rifles and caliber I obtained from all the shooters (I want to point out that in several cases was two shooters for one weapon but I did the equipment statistics so this equipment is represented only once) at the barrel length I failed to get the data of all - so statistics are not complete here. But even so it is obvious that the barrel length is most often 26 and 24 inches. There are practically no weapons with barrels about 20 inches on the Long Range. It is logical - here we want the advantage of higher muzzle velocities - and thus a better chance of hitting at the longer distances...
Most weapons have original barrels. But even so there were a few systems that had the barrels either replaced or these systems were build directly from components of different manufacturers. It is worth mentioning one barrel from Mr. Kuna - Czech barrel manufacturer. They are definitely not very well known..
In the sequel we will look at the riflescopes and other equipment such as stocks, bipods or muzzle brakes ...